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Indian tax authorities slap Rs7,900 crore notice on CK Hutchison unit

LiveMint logoLiveMint 29-08-2017 Prudence Ho

Hong Kong: A unit of billionaire Li Ka-shing’s CK Hutchison Holdings Ltd received a formal Rs7,900 crore ($1.2 billion) tax bill from Indian tax authorities over the company’s sale of its mobile phone business in the country to a Vodafone Group Plc unit a decade ago.

CK’s Hutchison Telecommunications International Ltd received the penalty order from the Indian tax authorities on 9 August, after receiving an assessment order from the Indian government for a similar amount in February, according to a filing with the Hong Kong stock exchange on Monday. The CK Hutchison unit continues to dispute the validity of those taxes, it said.

The move is the latest in a decade-old saga that’s engulfed Vodafone and CK Hutchison over an $11 billion transaction that occurred in 2007. The dispute has also been seen by analysts as a test case that may influence foreign investors’ perceptions about doing business in India.

The dispute traces back to Vodafone’s acquisition of a 67% stake in the mobile-phone business owned by Hutchison Whampoa, now part of CK Hutchison. While Vodafone has said it doesn’t owe the Indian government money because the transaction was conducted offshore, Indian authorities have sought to collect taxes on the deal because it involved the assets in the country.

CK Hutchison shares fell 0.9% to HK$100.80 in Hong Kong before the statement.

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